I'm delighted with this tasty "tomato-free" pizza/meatball sauce. Many of us love Italian food but we need to eliminate tomatoes or can't tolerate nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, capsicum, peppers, chilli, white potato, eggplant). No one will guess there's no tomatoes in this delicious sauce. Use the sauce to spread over Paleo pizzas, with meatballs, lasagna and noodles. If I hadn't told my hubby it didn't contain tomatoes, he said he wouldn't have known (he loves the sauce).
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Chop the onion, carrot, sweet potato, beetroot and celery into small chunks and add them to a food processor or similar machine. Add in the garlic and bay leaves, and process for 10 seconds or until all the vegetables are chopped finely.
Heat a large heavy-based saucepan on medium heat, then add the oil and chopped vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes, then stir in the vinegar, Italian herbs, coconut sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cook covered for 30 minutes or until the vegetables have lost their raw veggie taste.
Add contents of the saucepan to a high-speed blender with the olives (be careful not to burn yourself). Blend until you reach a smooth sauce.
Once the sauce has cooled pour into sterilized glass jars, seal and store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.
In my recipes when listing onion I am referring to a brown (also called yellow) onion. Onions are members of the allium plant family which also includes garlic, leeks, spring onions and shallots. Onions are valued more for the flavour they impart in cooking than for their nutritional content. Onions are know for their antibacterial effect helping to prevent superficial infections and their sulfur compounds may block carcinogens.
This crunchy orange root vegetable is rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. They are good for the eyes and improve night vision. You get vitamin A and a host of other powerful health benefits from carrots, including cancer prevention, helps prevent infections and heart disease, protects teeth and gums and promotes healthier skin.
Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense root vegetable, naturally sweet and high in fibre. They are a rich source of beta carotene (vitamin A), on average one medium sweet potato provides more than 100% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for vitamin C. Also high in vitamin E and potassium. Store in a cool place but not in the fridge.
This common root vegetable is a Superfood. Beetroot are packed with health promoting antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, betaine, folate, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and iron. Beetroot belongs to the same family as spinach and swiss chard, both the leaves and root can be eaten. It's history stretches back to 4,000 years ago and has long been used for medicinal purposes, primarily for blood, liver and digestive disorders. Recent research and trials have shown the benefits of beetroot juice in lowering high blood pressure. Check out my blog on the Health Benefits of Beetroot and best ways to store the leaves and root.
Both celery stalks and leaves can be used, whole stalks are eaten raw in salads or cooked to give flavour in stews and soups. Raw stalks with the leaves are excellent in your morning smoothie and give you a good dose of vitamin K, B and A, folate, riboflavin and more, plus celery contains several minerals.
Garlic is a close relative to the onion and has been used throughout history for both medicinal and culinary purposes. In most of my recipes I use minced garlic as I find it distributes better throughout the dish. When in a hurry I use organic minced garlic which I purchase in glass jars and store in the fridge. When garlic powder is needed for a particular recipe, I use 'Simply Organic' brand. Why is garlic so good for us? It is an immune booster, antibiotic, good for the heart, cancer fighter and it's also knew as a weight loss aid (appetite suppressant).
Bay leaves can be used dried or fresh in cooking. The aromatic leaf is commonly used in Mediterranean, Italian and Indian dishes. Bay leaves have a herbal fragrance and are similar in flavour to oregano and thyme. They add flavour to stews, soups, sauces, meat and vegetable dishes. Having your own bay tree in a large tub in your garden is a great way to have fresh leaves on hand for your cooking.
The olive fruit of the olive tree is pressed and crushed to released the oil. Healthy fats like olive oil are essential for brain function and to transport vitamins and minerals throughout our bodies. This is a delicious oil to drizzled over salads and vegetables.
Apple Cider Vinegar is used extensively throughout my recipes due to its health benefits. When purchasing, look for raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar ‘with the mother’ it has a cloudy appearance. Avoid malt vinegars as they are made from barley and contain gluten.
Italian herbs is a blend of dried oregano, marjoram, thyme, basil, rosemary and sage. A classic combination of lovely fresh herbs that you will find in many Mediterranean dishes. Mix into a tomato paste or puree to make a flavourful pizza sauce or add to roast chicken or fish. I use the brand 'Simply Organic' which I purchase online from iherb.
Coconut sugar is produced from the sap of the flower bud of the coconut palm tree and is a natural food sweetener. I use it when a dry sweetener is required. It has the benefit of a low glycemic index (low GI 35 compared to sugar at 68) and nutritional content. Use in baked goods as an occasional treat but don't overindulge. For a finer texture, add your coconut sugar to the small bowl of a food processor or blender and blend for 8 seconds or until it reaches a fine powder. The colour will lighten once ground.
I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.
Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.
Black and white pepper both come from the fruit of a tropical vine. Black pepper is the cooked and dried unripe fruit, know as a peppercorn and white pepper is from the ripe fruit seed. Pepper is usually coupled with salt, sprinkled over or added to food.
Making homemade chicken broth is a great way to heal Leaky Gut and excellent to drink when unwell. Traditionally broth was made just from bones and simmered for hours to remove the gelatin, marrow and goodness from them. These days vegetables are also added to give extra flavour. By using a slow cooker, making your own broth/stock is so easy. As soon as a roast chicken is eaten, all the bones go into the freezer ready for the next batch of broth. If purchasing store-bought stocks, read the labels as many companies have changed the name of MSG to yeast extract. Organic or free-range brands are available. My Chicken broth recipe is on page 295 of The JOYful Table cookbook. Freeze ice block trays filled with chicken broth for when a small amount is required for a recipe. You can also use an organic concentrated bone broth paste or dehydrated chicken bone broth powder and add them to filtered water.
The Kalamata olive is a large dark purple olive, almond shaped with a plump smooth flesh. Kalamata trees are grown in southern Greece and primarily used for eating and not as much for their oil. Olives are high in good heart healthy fats and disease-fighting phytochemicals (antioxidants). Kalamata are my favourite olives due to their flavour and plumpness. Purchase organic if possible in glass jars, read labels as many brands contain caramel colour and preservatives (I purchase macro Organic Kalamata olives, which are reasonably priced).